DCA Runway to Move — The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has hired a contractor to fill in part of the Potomac River and move a runway at Reagan National Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration requires the improvements because the runway does not meet FAA safety standards. The project is scheduled to begin next week and continue through 2015. [Washington Business Journal]
Arlington Man Finishes Run for Boston Victims — Arlington resident Frank Fumich completed his run from the Pentagon to the Boston Marathon finish line on Saturday. Fumich and a running partner from Florida raised more than $78,000 for the Boston bombing victims during the four day, 450 mile journey. During the final 19 miles, they were joined by a woman who was unable to finish the race when the bombs exploded. She gave her Boston Marathon medal to Fumich. [Washington Post]
Orange Line has Most Metrorail Weekend Work — In a tally of the areas most affected by Metrorail weekend track work from May 1, 2012 through April 30, 2013, the Orange Line section from East Falls Church to West Falls Church ranks as number one. That portion registered 23 weekends of work. It has been closed 10 times and single tracked 13 times in the one year period due to work linking the Silver Line to the rest of the system. [Greater Greater Washington]
(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) Track work will close Metro stations along the Orange Line this weekend, for the third time in the past month. This time the Ballston and Virginia Square stations will be out of service.
The closures begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, May 17, and run through closing on Sunday, May 19. Trains are expected to operate at normal weekend intervals even though service will be split into two segments — between Vienna and East Falls Church and between Clarendon and New Carrollton.
Free shuttle buses will replace trains between East Falls Church and Clarendon. Customers using shuttle bus service should add up to 25 minutes to their travel time.
The last trains of the night from Vienna to East Falls Church will depart 28 minutes earlier than normal — at 1:57 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and at 10:57 p.m. on Sunday.
The Orange Line closures are to allow for track circuit module replacement. There will also be work on the Red and Green lines this weekend. Information regarding those closures can be found on WMATA’s website.
The Ballston Business Improvement District expressed concern about the timing of the Ballston Metro station closure, considering the Taste of Arlington festival is expected to bring around 20,000 people to that area on Sunday.
Members of the BID have worked out a deal with WMATA. The station closures will remain in effect and passengers will still need to take shuttles between East Falls Church and Clarendon. However, starting around 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, additional shuttles will be put into service to accommodate the heavier flow of passengers expected to travel to Taste of Arlington, which begins at noon.
“They will add a whole crew of buses to the schedule for Sunday so they can ensure that nobody is waiting too long and can get to their destination in a timely fashion,” said Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone. “We’re not the first group this has happened to. They’ve assured us they will monitor the buses in making sure they’re arriving and leaving at a rapid rate. We’re just thrilled they were so responsive and so accommodating.”
Leone added that the bus trip is only about 10 minutes, so hopefully festival attendees won’t experience too many delays. Those who prefer to drive to the event should note that the cost is only one dollar for three hours to park at the Ballston garage.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser
The stations will close beginning today at 10:00 p.m. and running through closing on Sunday. The closures allow for track circuit replacement, which is a safety measure recommended by the NTSB.
Trains will operate every 15 minutes in two segments: between Vienna and Virginia Square, and between Rosslyn and New Carrollton. There will be free shuttle buses to take passengers between stops from Virginia Square to Rosslyn. Customers using the shuttles should add 15 minutes to their travel time.
To allow for shuttle bus connections, the last train from Vienna to Virginia Square will depart 31 minutes earlier than normal on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The train will leave Vienna at 2:05 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 11:05 p.m. on Sunday.
Riders on the Blue and Yellow lines should also expect delays. Trains will be single tracking between Braddock Road and Pentagon City due to maintenance such as rail tie, fastener and insulator renewal. Blue and Yellow trains will operate every 30 minutes.
Starting at 10:00 p.m. on Friday the East Falls Church, West Falls Church, Dunn Loring and Vienna stations will be closed. Crews will be working on signal system integration with the new Silver Line extension. Trains will still operate on a normal weekend schedule between Ballston and New Carrollton.
Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Ballston and Vienna. Express buses will run only between the Vienna and Ballston stops; local buses will serve all stops in between Ballston and Vienna. Customers taking the express buses should expect to add an additional 25 minutes of travel time and those using the local buses should add up to 50 minutes of travel time.
The service alterations continue until closing on Sunday. More information about weekend track work throughout the system is available on WMATA’s website.
The Yellow Line will be closed between the Fort Totten and Pentagon stations this weekend. The closure is the result of work on the Yellow Line bridge over the Potomac River and switch replacement outside L’Enfant Plaza.
“Customers traveling to/from Downtown DC should use Blue Line trains to complete their trip,” Metro said in a press release. “Transfer between Blue and Yellow line trains at any station between Pentagon and King Street-Old Town.”
Trains on the Orange Line will be single-tracking between the East Falls Church and West Falls Church stations this weekend, for work on the Silver Line extension project.
“Throughout the weekend, trains will operate every 24 minutes between Vienna and New Carrollton,” Metro said. “Customers using Orange Line trains should allow 15 minutes of additional travel time.”
The work is scheduled to start at 10:00 p.m. tonight (Friday) and continue through system closing on Sunday.
Workers will be installing cable to provide better cell phone coverage along the Blue and Yellow lines, in addition to doing work on ties and insulators. Starting at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, July 13, and continuing through closing on Sunday, July 15, free shuttle buses will replace trains between Pentagon City and Braddock Road on the Blue and Yellow lines. The Reagan National Airport and Crystal City stops will both be closed.
Blue Line trains will operate in two segments: between Franconia-Springfield and Braddock Road and between Pentagon City and Largo Town Center, at regular weekend intervals. Yellow Line trains will also operate in two segments: between Huntington and Braddock Road and between Pentagon City and Mount Vernon Square, at regular weekend intervals. Customers traveling through the work zone should allow about 30 minutes of additional travel time.
Orange Line customers may also experience some delays, due to work on ties and insulators. Trains will single track between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. Customers should expect minor delays.
Details about all of the weekend track work and delays can be found on WMATA’s website.
Last Monday, Metro officially launched its Rush+ service.
Designed to reduce the rush hour “Orange crush” by adding three additional Orange Line trains per hour, Rush Plus accomplished the enhanced Orange Line service by directing three formerly Blue Line trains per hour over the Yellow Line bridge into the District.
Metro billed Rush+ as “rush hour reinvented,” promising to “reduce crowding and provide new transfer-free travel opportunities.” Has it lived up to expectations?”
Flickr pool photo by BrianMKA
Rush+ will be in effect Monday through Friday, from 6:30-9:00 a.m. and 3:30-6:00 p.m.
Orange Line customers who use stations west of Rosslyn should notice three more trains per hour in each direction. Metro estimates the change will allow for an 18 percent increase in capacity on the Orange Line, which would benefit more than 46,000 customers.
Blue and Yellow line customers who use the stations from Pentagon through Reagan National Airport will see the same amount of trains. However, during rush hour there will be three more Yellow trains per hour, and three fewer Blue. Metro estimates Blue Line riders in Virginia could have to wait up to six minutes longer for a train. More than 33,000 customers are expected to benefit from that change.
To accommodate for fewer Blue Line trains, the 9E and 10E Metrobus routes will be tweaked. During rush periods, the buses will offer express service between Rosslyn and Crystal City.
Riders will have to pay attention to the listed end point on each train, because the Orange and Yellow lines will now split during rush hour. Some Orange Line trains will now terminate at Largo Town Center instead of New Carrollton, and some Yellow Line trains will terminate at Greenbelt instead of Fort Totten. In the other direction, some Yellow Line trains will now terminate at Franconia-Springfield instead of Huntington. Dashed lines on the map indicate the altered routes that will be in place during rush hours.
The rail changes are also supposed to benefit the Silver Line, once it goes into service. That line is already listed on the new Metro map.
Metro has set up videos and an interactive map on its website to explain Rush+. The map lets customers click on the sections they travel to see how their commutes will be affected.
Update at 3:10 p.m. – WMATA reports the Foggy Bottom station has reopened.
Earlier: Metro riders should expect to experience delays on the Orange and Blue lines due to a person struck by a train at Foggy Bottom.
The Foggy Bottom station is currently closed. Orange lines are single tracking between Clarendon and Foggy Bottom. Blue lines are single tracking between Arlington Cemetery and Foggy Bottom.
Delays are expected to continue during the police investigation into the incident.
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.
The Orange Line will be split into two segments from 10:00 p.m. on Friday to system closing on Monday. Trains will run between Vienna and Virginia Square, and from Rosslyn to New Carrollton. Trains will run at normal weekend service levels. Shuttle buses will run between Rosslyn, Courthouse, Clarendon and Virginia Square.
Metro advises riders to expect an additional 20-30 minutes of travel time when traveling through the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. The agency says the extended closure will allow it to perform an NTSB-recommended switch replacement near Clarendon.
No work is scheduled on the Blue or Yellow lines this weekend.
As we reported earlier this week, riding Metro will be a challenge for users of the Orange and Blue lines this weekend. Major track work will force the closure of the Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations.
The closures will be in place starting at 10:00 tonight and continuing until the system closes on Sunday. WMATA says workers will renew rail fasteners, replace insulators and remove sludge from the tunnel beneath the Potomac River.
Orange Line trains will be split into two segments. One set of trains will run between Vienna and Court House every 20 minutes, and another between Foggy Bottom and New Carrollton at normal weekend service levels.
Blue Line trains will also operate in two segments. One set of trains will run between Franconia-Springfield and Mt. Vernon Square via the Yellow Line bridge at normal weekend service levels, and the other between Foggy Bottom and Largo Town Center at normal weekend service levels.
Shuttle buses will be provided at affected stations along both lines. Metro says riders should expect to add 20-30 minutes to regular travel time — or reconsider their use of Metrorail altogether.
“While bus shuttle service is available, customers traveling between the District and Blue/Yellow stations in Virginia may wish to consider alternate travel options,” WMATA said on its web site.
More details about the buses and the service impacts, after the jump.
Just before 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11, a man was struck by an outbound train at the Clarendon Metro station, throwing the evening commute into chaos.
As rescuers worked to free the man from underneath the train, power was shut off to the third rail and trains were stopped around the station. With almost nowhere else to go, Orange Line trains started offloading passengers at Rosslyn. Soon, the Rosslyn station started filling up with people — so many people that the escalators were shut down so they wouldn’t become overloaded.
Shortly after that, police were called in to help with crowd control. Via police radio, officers expressed concern that the crowds were so heavy on the platforms that people might start falling onto the tracks. Later, a mass casualty medical response was dispatched to the station as people started getting ill while trying to walk up the long escalators.
Many riders that night expressed complaints about a lack of communication and direction from Metro personnel at the Rosslyn station. After a two-week review, however, Metro has concluded that while some mistakes were made, the shutdown was, in fact, handled well.
How would you grade Metro’s overall response on Oct. 11?
Starting mid-2012, six additional Orange Line trains will be put in service each peak hour, three in each direction. Those trains will run from West Falls Church to Largo Town Center, which is normally a Blue Line station. To allow that to happen — the Orange Line tunnel between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom operates at capacity during peak hours — six Blue Line trains will be diverted over the Yellow Line Bridge.
Those “former Blue Line trains” will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Greenbelt, a Green Line station. The trains — three in each direction during peak hours — will be identified as Yellow Line trains.
The so-called “Blue Line split” will serve to relieve passenger congestion between Rosslyn and Courthouse, identified as the most crowded section of the entire Metro system. It will also free up some capacity for the future Silver Line to Tysons Corner and Dulles Airport.
From a Metro press release:
During peak periods, more than 46,000 Orange Line customers will benefit from six additional trains per hour — three in each direction — resulting in 18 percent more capacity on the line, or approximately 2,600 seats per hour. The new trains will operate between West Falls Church and Largo Town Center.
The Orange Line is Metro’s second busiest, carrying approximately 180,000 passenger trips on a typical weekday. In a phenomenon known as Orange Crush, peak trains on the Orange Line between Courthouse and Rosslyn carry more passengers per car than anywhere else on the system.
During peak periods, the tunnel between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom is at capacity, with 26 trains per hour in each direction. The additional “slots” in the schedule will be made possible by routing three Blue Line trains in each direction over the Yellow Line bridge each peak hour. Trains following this service pattern will travel between Franconia-Springfield and Greenbelt and will be considered Yellow Line trains.
For 33,500 Blue and Yellow Line customers in Virginia, the realignment will mean more trains providing faster access to downtown via the Yellow Line bridge. A smaller number (about 16,000) weekday peak-period customers who travel on Blue Line trains via Arlington Cemetery will experience a maximum of six-minutes additional waiting time for a train.
In addition, stations on the northern segments of the Green/Yellow lines will see additional trains during weekday peak periods. Stations from Shaw-Howard to Greenbelt will benefit from six additional Yellow Line trains each peak hour — three in each direction — between Greenbelt and Franconia-Springfield. For the first time, a customer can travel from Greenbelt to Franconia-Springfield without transferring. More than 28,000 customers will benefit from the change.
Members of the Metro board gave the plan “preliminary approval” at a meeting yesterday. They also approved a new Metro system map (above). The service changes are expected to take effect in June.
Trains will not run between East Falls Church and West Falls Church while crews work on the Dulles rail extension project. Passengers will be able to use free shuttle buses between the two stations. Buses will run from tonight at 8 p.m. through closing on Monday.
The last train from Vienna will also depart 20 minutes earlier than usual–at 2:08 a.m. tonight and tomorrow night, and 11:08 p.m. on Sunday.
Riders who travel through the work zones should expect to add about 30 minutes to travel times until normal service resumes on Tuesday.
The Blue Line will also be undergoing major construction. Click here to see the full list of Metro changes this weekend.
Update at 10:25 a.m. — “A couple of trains were delayed but continued to move through the area,” says Metro spokesman Ron Holzer.
Update at 9:30 a.m. — The fire is reported to be out. Expect some traffic issues on westbound I-66 due to parked fire equipment.
Initial reports suggest that trains may have been halted in the area. Metro is said to be checking whether the fire may have damaged the third rail.
Update at 9:25 a.m. — The fire is said to be on a railroad tie. No word yet on whether this will affect trains along the Orange Line.
A small fire has been reported on or near the Metro tracks along I-66, between Glebe Road and East Falls Church.
Arlington firefighters are responding to the area.